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DePauw Wins 4th NCAC Tournament Title

DePauw Wins 4th NCAC Tournament Title

Second-seeded DePauw (22-6) captured its fourth NCAC Tournament title in the last five years after knocking off fourth-seeded Allegheny (15-13) by an 83-53 margin on Saturday afternoon at Denison University's Livingston Gymnasium. As tournament champions, the Tigers have earned the league's automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament, which will open with first and second round games next weekend on campus sites.

DePauw sophomore Emily Budde (Cincinnati, OH/Mother of Mercy) earned the 2016 Nan Nichols Award as the tournament MVP after she scored 18 points and pulled down eight rebounds in the championship game. Budde, who launched the Tigers into the championship game with a buzzer beater against Kenyon in the semifinals, finished the three-game tournament with 41 points (13.7 ppg), 17 rebounds (5.7 rpg) and five assists (1.7 apg). She also shot 42 percent (13-of-31) from the field, 38 percent (5-of-13) from three-point range and 77 percent (10-of-13) from the free throw line.

Allegheny senior Emma Pellicano (Pittsburgh, PA/Mt. Lebanon), who was also named to the All-Tournament team, led the Gators in the championship game with 12 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field, while classmate Rachel Vigliotti (Pittsburgh, PA/Oakland Catholic) pulled down six rebounds and handed out two assists in her final collegiate game.

2016 NCAC Women's Basketball All-Tournament Team

Ifeoma Archimalo, Kenyon
Jordan Holmes, Denison
Emma Pellicano, Allegheny
Jessica Mrdjenovich, Allegheny
Maya Howard, DePauw

Nan Nichols Award (MVP) - Emily Budde, DePauw 

Quarterfinals:   Semifinals:   Championship:

Tuesday, Feb. 23

  Friday, Feb. 26
(at Denison)
  Saturday, February 27
(at Denison)
#1 Denison 66, #8 Ohio Wesleyan 47  {Box}
   DePauw, 59 Kenyon 58  {Box}    DePauw 83, Allegheny 53 {Box}
#2 DePauw 56, #7 Wittenberg 46 {Box}
   Allegheny 67, Denison 66 - OT {Box}    Championship Game Photo Gallery
#3 Kenyon 65, #6 Hiram 52 {Box}
  Semifinal Photo Gallery    
#4 Allegheny 58, #5 Oberlin 50 {Box}
Bracket -- Stats -- Tickets  -- Directions -- History

Semifinal Recaps:

It was a night of buzzer beaters in the semifinal round of the 2016 NCAC Women's Basketball Tournament, as second-seeded DePauw (21-6) knocked of third seeded Kenyon (18-9), 59-58, at the fourth quarter horn, while fourth-seeded Allegheny (15-12) upset top-seeded Denison (23-4), 67-66, as time in expired in overtime. The Tigers and Gators will now square off in the championship game tomorrow afternoon at 4:00 p.m. at Denison University's Livingston Gymnasium. 

WATCH: DePauw's Buzzer Beater -- Allegheny's Buzzer Beater

DePauw sophomore guard Emily Budde (Cincinnati, OH/Mother of Mercy) sank a three from the top of the arc as time expired to lift the Tigers to the 59-58 victory over Kenyon. The Tigers and Ladies found themselves in a tight battle over the first 10 minutes of action, with KC leading 18-15 after the first period following a jumper from freshman Hannah O'Day (Chagrin Falls, OH/Hawken). Kenyon built its biggest lead of the half, 23-17, with 7:02 left in the second period, but the Tigers closed out the half on a 15-0 run to take a 32-23 lead into half. The Ladies answered the Tigers by opening the third period on a 14-4 run to momentarily take a one-point advantage, 37-36, with 5:11 showing on the clock. DePauw then built its biggest lead of the game early in the fourth period, 52-42, on a layup by Budde with 8:30 left in the game, but the Ladies stormed back and tied the game at 56 with 1:47 left on a three ball from sophomore Griffin Tullis (Columbus, OH/Dublin Coffman). The two teams then went nearly 1:30 of game action without a bucket, before KC junior Sidney Cera (Brookville, OH/Brookville) drove the lane and converted a layup with just 10 seconds on the clock to give the Ladies a 58-56 lead. Budde then took matters into her own hands and drained her heroic shot as the final seconds ticked off the clock to launch DPU into the championships game. Budde finished the game with 16 points, while freshman Maya Howard (St. Louis, MO/MICDS) led the Tigers in the victory with 22 points after shooting 5-of-8 from the field and a perfect 9-of-9 from the free throw line. Sophomore Ifeoma Archimalo (Dayton, OH/Centerville) led the Ladies with 15 points and seven rebounds. 

In the second semifinal game of the night, Allegheny senior guard Jessica Mrdjenovich (Pittsburgh, PA/Oakland Catholic)stunned the top-seeded Big Red by tossing in a corner three as time in expired in overtime to catapult the Gators into their first tournament title game since 2011. The two teams fought neck-and-neck throughout the entire first half, with the Gators taking a slight 27-26 lead into halftime. The Gators maintained a one-point advantage, 39-38, after the third period after the two teams continued to share baskets over the 10-minute session. The back-and-fourth affair continued into the fourth frame; however, Mrdjenovich gave the Gators their biggest lead of the second half, 54-50, on a three pointer with 2:26 left in regulation. Denison junior post Jordan Holmes (Pittsburgh, PA/Mt. Lebanon) cut the lead to two on a layup with 1:58 on the clock, and senior wing Taylor Lindquist (Erie, PA/McDowell) evened the score at 54 on another layup with 1:02 left in the fourth. Lindquist then put the Big Red on top, 56-54, with a pair of free throws with 16 seconds left; however, Allegheny senior Emma Pellicano (Pittsburgh, PA/Mt. Lebanon) sank a running jumper in the lane with two seconds left in regulation to send the game into the extra session. Both teams were able to establish three-point leads in the overtime period, with Allegheny holding the final three-point edge, 64-61, with 2:07 left on a jumper from freshman Candaisy Crawford (Webster, NY/Thomas). DU cut the lead to one, 64-63, on a pair of free throws from junior Gabrielle Nottage (Evanston, IL/Evanston Twp.) with 1:41 on the clock, before junior Gaby Mehringer (Chapel Hill, NC/Northwood) put the Big Red on top 65-64 with 49 seconds left on a corner jumper. Holmes, who broke the NCAC record with 28 rebounds in the game, split a pair of free throws with 13 seconds left, which gave the Gators a glimmer of hope in the final seconds. After a 30 second timeout was called with five seconds left, freshmanDelaney Arbore (North Huntingdon, PA/Norwin) found Mrdjenovich open deep in the corner for the last second desperation heave that found nothing but net. Mrdjenovich, who also eclipsed the 1,000-point plateau in the second half, finished the game with 12 points, while Pellicano led all Gators scorers with 18 points. Holmes was her usual dominant self in the game as she added 22 points to her record-setting rebounding performance. Lindquist was the only other DU payer in double figures with 15 points on 4-of-9 shooting from the field.


Quarterfinal Recaps:

Top-seeded Denison (23-3) led wire-to-wire and outrebounded eighth-seeded Ohio Wesleyan (6-20) 45-28 en route to earning a 66-47 victory in the quarterfinal round of the 2016 NCAC Women's Basketball Tournament. The Big Red opened the contest on an 8-0 run and led by as many as 13 before taking a 34-23 lead into the half. Ohio Wesleyan made a run to open the third quarter, cutting the lead to two after Megan Kuether (Osgood, OH/Marion Local) nailed a three at the 7:23 mark, but that was as close as the Bishops would get as Denison advanced to its 13th NCAC Tournament semifinal in the last 14 years. The Big Red were led by Jordan Holmes (Pittsburgh, PA/Mt. Lebanon), who scored 13 of her game-high 23 points in the second half, to go along with 20 rebounds and six blocks. Tuesday marked Holmes' 22nd double-double this season and also the 17th time she has played all 40 minutes.  Denison got a nice lift from its bench, outscoring the OWU bench, 22-7. Defensively Denison held Ohio Wesleyan to 28.1% (18-for-64) from the field, forced 10 turnovers and blocked 10 shots. The Big Red won the battle in the paint, 32-10, and totaled eight points off turnovers. Senior Hanna Fedorka (North Canton, OH/Massillon Jackson) led Ohio Wesleyan with 15 points, three steals and three rebounds in her final game for the Bishops.

Second-seeded DePauw (20-6) improved to a perfect 5-0 in the quarterfinal round of the NCAC Tournament Tuesday night at the Lilly Center in Greencastle, Indiana after defeating seventh-seeded Wittenberg (7-17), 56-46.  The win gives the DPU Tigers their 15th-straight, 20-win season under head coach Kris Huffman. Wittenberg opened the game strong, staking to an eight point lead at the end of the first quarter, but DePauw held Wittenberg to just five second-quarter points to take a 26-24 lead into the half. Like the first half, Wittenberg opened the second-half tough and took a 35-30 lead with 2:17 left in the third quarter on a made three-pointer from freshman Alex Kiess (Edon, OH/Northwest). However, DePauw responded with a 12-3 run over the next 4:59, capped off by a Maya Howard (St. Louis, MO/MICDS) three-point field goal to regain a lead it would never relinquish. A big difference in the game came at the charity stripe where DePauw knocked down 15-of-20, including a perfect 10-for-10 in the second half, while Wittenberg made just six trips to line, converting on five. Wittenberg outrebounded DePauw, 31-29, as the DPU Tigers improved to 2-5 on the season when failing to hold an edge on the boards. DePauw shot 40.4 percent for the game to Wittenberg's 35.4 percent and the guests hit 7-of-21 from beyond the arc to the hosts' 3-of-7. DePauw forward Taylor Howard (Peoria, IL/Peoria Christian) lead all scorers with 16 points to go along with six rebounds, while Howard came off the bench with 13 key points, including 10 in the second-half. Senior Taylor Bundy (Lewis Center, OH/Olentangy Orange) led Wittenberg with 14 points and five rebounds in her final game.
Kenyon (18-8) advanced to the NCAC semifinals for the 11th time in the last 12 seasons under head coach Suzanne Helfantafter defeating sixth-seeded Hiram (12-14), 65-52. The game opened with three quick lead changes before the Ladies closed the final 6:30 of the first quarter on a 19-4 run to take a 23-9 lead. Kenyon held a 13-point lead at the half thanks to 10 points fromIfeoma Archimalo (Dayton, OH/Centerville). Hiram opened the second-half by outscoring the Ladies, 17-14, in the third quarter and cut the lead to five as late as 8:34 left in the game, but the Kenyon defense stiffened down the stretch and the Ladies closed out the contest on a 14-3 run for the win. Archimalo matched her season-high with 16 points to lead all scorers to go along with seven rebounds, three assists and one steal . The Ladies dished out 14 assists on 23 made field goals and turned the ball over just six times while forcing 19 Terrier turnovers. Kenyon took advantage of the turnover edge by outscoring Hiram, 23-4, in points off turnovers. As a team, Kenyon shot 34.8 percent from the field, compared to 39.5 percent for Hiram, which also converted on 8-of-23 shots from three-point range. Kenyon held a 43-39 advantage on the boards and 31-15 edge on points off the bench. Sophomore Allison Vannoy (Mantua, OH/Crestwood) led Hiram with 15 points, six rebounds and three assists in the losing effort.
In the final quarterfinal matchup of the evening, fourth-seeded Allegheny (14-12) used its suffocating full-court press to force 22 turnovers as the Gators advanced to the NCAC Tournament semifinals for the first-time since 2013 with a 58-50 victory over fifth-seeded Oberlin (12-14). Oberlin took a 14-13 lead into the second quarter after the opening frame featured three lead changes and three other deadlocks. However, Allegheny would carry a seven point lead into the half thanks to a 14-6 second quarter advantage. The Yeowomen opened the second half on a 7-2 run to cut the Gator lead to two, but Allegheny scored 11 of the game's next 13 points to open their largest lead of the evening at 40-29 and ultimately held on for the win. Allegheny Senior guard Jessica Mrdjenovich (Pittsburgh, PA/Oakland Catholic) scored 12 of her game-high 18 points in the second half to give her three consecutive double-digit scoring performances. Fellow senior Emma Pellicano (Pittsburgh, PA/Mount Lebanon)scored eight points and pulled down nine rebounds, while fourth-year guard Rachel Vigliotti (Pittsburgh, PA/Oakland Catholic) quarterbacked the Gator offense with six assists. The Gators held advantages in points off turnovers, 23-9, bench points, 23-15, and points in the paint, 24-18. Oberlin senior Lindsey Bernhardt (Miami, FL/Ransom Everglades School) was the lone Yeowoman in double figures as she netted 13 points. She ends her four-year career with 1,224 points, which ranks seventh on the all-time scoring list.


The Denison University Big Red captured their first NCAC Women's Basketball title since 2010-11 and their fourth overall after finishing the regular season with a 15-1 mark against league foes. The Big Red, who snapped DePauw's recent string of four-straight NCAC titles, will also enter the NCAC Tournament on a 15-game winning streak. Wittenberg leads all league teams with 12 NCAC championships, sharing the crown with Ohio Wesleyan in 1999 and '92. Allegheny is next with six titles, winning five-straight from 1985-89. The Gators shared the NCAC's first championship in 1985 with Wooster. Additionally, Allegheny and Ohio Wesleyan tied for first in 2001. The Battling Bishops own five overall titles, followed by Denison (4), Kenyon (3) and Wooster (2).

Denison (22-3, 15-1) will be the top seed in the 2016 NCAC Women's Basketball Tournament. The tournament begins with quarterfinal games on campus sites on Tuesday (2/23). Tournament seeding follows the final regular season standings with the top four seeds hosting quarterfinal contests. The Big Red hosts eight-seeded Ohio Wesleyan (5-11, 6-19) and second seed DePauw (19-6, 13-3) hosts seventh seed Wittenberg (6-10, 7-16). In the other quarterfinal games on Tuesday, third-seeded Kenyon (11-5, 17-8) hosts the six seed Hiram (6-12, 12-13) and fourth-seeded Allegheny (13-12, 8-8) entertains fifth-seeded Oberlin (6-10, 12-13). All quarterfinal game times will be announced on Monday (2/22).

Tuesday's winners will advance to the semifinals and championship on Friday and Saturday at the site of the highest remaining seed to emerge from the quarterfinal round. Semifinal games will be held at 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. with the high seed playing in the later time slot. The championship game is set for 4:00 p.m. In the event that one institution hosts both the men's and women's "final four", the women's semifinals will be played on Thursday (2/25) and the men's semifinals will be played on Friday (2/26). The championship games would then be played on Saturday with the women playing at 3:00 p.m. and the men at 7:00 p.m. In this scenario, the gym will be cleared in between games and separate tickets will be required for each contest. This year's champion will again receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament, which begins with first-round play on March 4th.